Posts Tagged ‘California’

My recent trip to California was literally the greatest time of my life. I got to spend some good quality time with my brother, run a marathon on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, and road-trip from LA to San Francisco.

The 2013 Beach Jam Marathon was Saturday morning and my friend Mary was supposed to meet me at the start. We ran together the evening before and she wasn’t sure if she was going to race. She decided that morning that she would run the half marathon, so I was going to run it with her. We had such a great time together at the 2012 LA Marathon so I knew this would be fun too.


The course was a 13.1 mile loop starting at Crescent Bay Park in Santa Moinca. From the start, you head south along the Venice boardwalk a few bocks past the pier and turn around. Then, back to the start/finish area for the first aid station. Continue north to the end of Will Rogers State Beach for the next aid station, then back to the start /finish.

The race was a small event held by Rocket Racing Productions. Between the 10 mile, half marathon, and full marathon there were about 75 people. I’ve learned to enjoy the small events because of the more personal atmosphere. Although I love great crowd support, some of my most memorable races have been very small ones like this.

My game plan…
Have fun, run smart. This wasn’t going to be a “race” to me. Since I’m training for my first 100 miler I just considered it my long run for the week, but this time I had company for the first half, a mobile pit crew (my brother), aid stations, and I got a medal at the end.

The weather was perfect that morning. Well, to me it was. Starting in the low 50’s, the the temps would rise to 71 before the race was over. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and just a light ocean breeze.

The first half…


This picture captures the mood perfectly.

As the race started, the conversation and laughs came quickly. We kept a slow, comfortable pace. My constant stops at every rest room slowed us down even more, but the clock wasn’t a concern. The mood was awesome. I felt strong. This was going to be great!


We continued on. Everything went great until mile 11. Mary was getting tired, and something didn’t feel right with my ankle. A few days before, I tweaked it while running in the snow and now the pain is starting to come back. As we finished the half marathon Mary got her medal and took off to get some food. She would come back to cheer me on at the end. I still had 13.1 miles to run, so I kept pushing forward.

The second half…

It was starting to get rough. I called my brother around mile 14. He was going to meet me a couple of miles down. I’ve never had a mobile pit crew, but my brother was amazing. He brought me beer and meds near mile 16 to help get me to the finish. I sat down in his car to enjoy my beer and my ankle was starting to swell. After a few minutes I took off and my brother was going to meet me a few miles later.

At the aid station near mile 18 I stopped to look at my ankle. It was getting bigger, and my pace was slowing rapidly. I typically run about a 9 or 10 minute pace for this distance but I was at about 13 minutes so I was obviously hurting. My brother met up with me again near mile 20. This time he brought me some ice, ibuprophen, another pair of shoes, and another beer. I rested there for about 20 minutes icing my ankle and keeping it elevated. I tended to the 2 very large blisters on my feet, changed my shoes, and went on my way. This race was getting brutal, but without the help of my brother I would have been suffering thru it.


I felt a lot better. The ankle still hurt, but I was close to my normal pace again. I saw Mary at mile 21. She walked with me for a couple minutes and we talked. She knew my ankle was in bad shape, but she could tell I was doing a lot better. I was ready to get this race over with. I only had 5 miles left. One more hour and I could relax and ice my ankle. That’s all I wanted.


Beach Jam Marathon course.

I pushed thru it and finally made it to the finish. I got my medal and Mary gave an ice pack for my ankle. This was the hardest marathon of my life. Other than my ankle I felt great though. I wasn’t even sore.

What I thought of the race…

*well organised
*race staff was very friendly
*aid stations were fully stocked – water, sports drinks, granola bars, gels, electrolyte tablets
*beautiful course
*plenty of rest rooms along the beach
*very affordable

*no crowd support
*not a closed course – had to dodge people the whole way (especially in Venice)
*medal was pretty basic
*not chip timed

The bottom line…

If you like quiet, scenic races then this is for you. If I lived in LA I would participate in other events held by Rocket Racing Productions.


Last week I found out that my next race was cancelled. I was planning on flying to California to visit my brother. I planned on running the La Jolla Canyon 50k, but it ended up getting cancelled due to an issue with permits. So, I searched around for other races in the LA area that same weekend. Even if I find a 5k, I am running a race while I’m there. Well, it must have been my lucky day. There is a marathon in Santa Monica (where I’m staying) the same day the 50k was scheduled (March 9th). The Beach Jam Marathon starts in Santa Monica and runs along the ocean south to Marina Del Rey then north to the Pacific Palisades, then back to Santa Monica. I’m looking forward to the challenge of another marathon. I always enjoy the scenery, the happy runners I chat with along the way, and the sense of accomplishment that I get from races. Let’s just hope this one doesn’t get cancelled…



2013 La Jolla Canyon 50k is cancelled.

The 2013 La Jolla Canyon 50k is cancelled. I really can’t believe this happened. It was supposed to be my second ultramarathon. If anyone knows of any races on 3/9/13 in the Los Angeles area please let me know. Thanks.


The other day I put together my training plan for my first 100 miler. Today was day 1 and I was scheduled for 17 miles. I plan to do all of my long runs on Sundays since I never work Sundays. Well, today I ended up having to work, and it was a shift in the middle of the day. Because of that I had to switch around this week’s training plan, so I ended up doing tomorrow’s 5 miler instead of the 17 I planned on. I guess that’s why they say to write your training plan in pencil instead of pen.

Tomorrow should be a great day for the 17 miles. It’s supposed to be 40 degrees and partly cloudy. That’s about as good as you can hope for when it’s mid-February in Michigan.

Other exciting stuff…
Only 20 days until my next ultramarathon! I’m really looking forward to heading to California for my race. A 50k trail race in the mountains of Malibu sounds absolutely amazing. That day my brother and I will be driving from LA to Vegas to celebrate.

Today also marks a big milestone for Tim’s Running Reviews. I now have over 200 follwers on WordPress! When I started this blog back in October, I really had no idea that it would take off like it has. I wanted to thank all of my followers, Facebook fans, and everyone else who has read, liked, and commented on my blogs.


I’ve been slacking lately. Ever since the Akron Marathon in September I have only been running 20 to 25 miles per week. This was such a drastic drop in mileage compared to the 50+ I was was doing before that. I really needed the rest though. My training for my 50 miler at Run Woodstock really wore me down and I battled 2 injuries because of it. A stress fracture on the fifth metatarsal on my left foot during my training, and a traumatic neuroma on my right foot that happened during the race. Although I have been “lazy”, I feel so much better. My body isn’t completely trashed anymore.

I was planning on taking a trip back out to California to see my brother and wanted to do a race while I was there. Last year I ran the LA Marathon with 2 of my friends and I thought about running it again. Although the race was incredible, I decided against it so I could discover some new terrain. The La Jolla Canyon Trail 50k is taking place on March 9th and that seemed like a fun challenge. I am ready for another ultra. I believe I still have it in me right now, but I still have 2 months to train for it. Every race beyond a half marathon that I’ve ever done was run with friends, but this time I’m going solo. I hope to complete it in less than 5 1/2 hours.


Trail map

The pics I found are absolutely breathtaking. I really hope to get a GoPro camera before then. With stunning views like these, I don’t want to miss a moment of it. During my first ultra I really didn’t take many pictures, so this time will definitely be different.


La Jolla Canyon Trail

Considering the terrain, I need to do some good hill training. Here in southeastern Michigan we don’t have any mountains, and the bulk of the land is very flat. I do, however, have access to a very steep sledding hill right down the road and have some aggressive hills within 10 miles of here at Bloomer Park and Stony Creek.


La Jolla Valley Loop

I plan on doing some hardcore hills one day, some fartleks another day, and one long run of 20+ miles each week. This will bring me back to my “ultra-self” in no time. 2 weeks before the race, I will switch to one day of hills, one day of 13 to 18 miles, and one day of cross training (legs and core). It’s a pretty simple plan.


Chumash Trail

I will also be doing another fundraiser for F.A.S.T. (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics) to help fund important research toward a cureĀ  for Angelman Syndrome. You can sponsor me for as little as $1 here. Thank you for your support and encouragement!



I’ve only been running for 2 1/2 years, and in that time I’ve earned a few medals. They’ve just been piling up on my mirror one by one, not even highlighting some of the nice ribbons they hang from. Like any other runner, I’ve worked very hard for each of those and they should be displayed in a much better way. For about a year I’ve contemplated getting a medal hanger but all of them that I’ve found were severely over-priced. The nicest hangers I saw were made by Allied Medal Displays, but the couple of them I wanted were priced between $60 and $80. Although they were very nice, I would have to spend almost $200 to display everything. There had to be a different way – Something more cost effective.

I came up with an idea to simply use 2 hooks and a dowel in between. I didn’t want it to look cheap, but after all, the display should highlight the medals rather than the rack they hang from. I went to my local Lowe’s to take a look at some ideas and hopefully see something that would work. It almost made sense to start with the dowels and find one that would be strong enough without being too thick. They had some 3/8 inch dowels made of oak that looked pretty nice and they were certainly strong enough. Only $1.19 for a 36 inch cut. That’s a great start, so I grabbed 2 and searched for the hooks. That place is enormous, and it’s hard to find anything so I ended up asking an employee where they were. I have to say, he was pretty rude. He didn’t even stop walking past me as he told me where to find them. That attitude didn’t make any sense to me. Anyone that knows me would agree that I’m very friendly when I approach people, and this case was no different. Maybe he was really rushed on other tasks. Next week is the kickoff of holiday shopping season and I’m sure he had a million things to do, but that’s still no excuse.


Okay… I’m done venting now. Back to the hooks. I scored a 6 pack of some 3/4 inch cup hooks with a shiny brass finish for only $1.18. The dowels fit perfectly. This brought the grand total to $3.77 with tax. At that price I can scrap the whole idea if it looks bad.


I cut the dowels in half and screwed the hooks into the wall. I think it’s a huge improvement over the way it looked before.



I’d say this was completetly worth it. Hopefully my idea helps someone out there.